Current Topics

"Days" and discussion topics at HDM in the summer term 2017

Participants of the courses "Aktuelle Themen Internet" are organizing so called "days" with a special focus on new and upcoming topics in computer science and society with a potentially disruptive force. The idea behind those events is to get students to think about possible trends and important future technologies by planning a workshop or an event. Besides the theoretical work the organization of such an event (approaching and inviting key representatives of a new technology) trains soft skills. The necessary media coverage (providing a live stream, chat, moderation etc.) leads to a media competence which is a requirement in todays workplace.

The themes for those workshops and events will be decided by the participants, work is done in groups. The following list gives some ideas for events or discussion topics. The questions for the final exam cover those topics.

The other half of the course is a weekly seminar where we discuss new technological trends and their impact on society. Participants are required to read papers and articles for each session.


If you don't like to read, don't take this course!!! There is a google drive folder where we will collect papers and other resources.

We will start with two sessions on the "digital revolution" that is currently happening and on the concept of disruption. After that we decide on further topics for discussion.

  1. The Digital Revolution - work, technology and its consequences. See About unicorns, digital platforms and the future of technology (and society)

  2. Disruptive Technology and the Christensen book (did not want to do this repeatedly but had to learn otherwise) Innovators Dilemma. This is mandadorty reading, because the concept of disruptive technology is so fundamental to this course. For an anti-dote to Christensen, see the critique by Jill Lepore . An alternative source:

Optional topcis for the course: (feel free to offer your own ideas)

  1. Critical Infrastructure: Patterns and Anti-Patterns of Secure Systems. The internet exposes critical services to the whole world. What can/must be done to keep those services secure? To avoid getting blackmailed by trojans? I gave this talk at an electrical engineering conference and it fit perfectly to our course. Robust Systems

  2. Arbeiten 4.0: Corporate Culture in Internet Times. The fast progress of internet companies requires a different corporate culture which values speed and independence over other things. We are looking at two typical representatives: Reed Hastings, Netflix Culture - Freedom & Responsibility, and (Henrik Kniberg & Anders Ivarsson, Scaling Agile at Spotify ) and see how social and technical organization of work interleaves. We will learn about Conways law and why Netflix believes it should be like Bayern München. One more hint is having a bench strategy:. On how to create an engineering team and how google does it. Further tips: the topic has been talked about at QCON and also Heise/Gunter Dueck gave a comment. And last but not least a new feature from Dueck on "Arbeiten 4.0" . This topic fits nicely to our Entrepreneur-Day later (see the schedule below). But ask yourself: who is interested in seing start-ups all over the place and why?

  3. Microservices and Lambda Architecture. An example for a microservices approach is given by netflix (Adrian Cockcroft GOTO Berlin - November 2014, Migrating to Microservices ) . A good intro comes from Lewis/Fowler, (Microservices ). Practical insight comes from Kevin Scaldeferri's talk at OSCON 2015 (CONTINUOUS DELIVERY AND LARGE MICROSERVICE ARCHITECTURES, Reflections on IonCannon. And finally a free book on Microservices from the NGINX guys. A good intro to serverless computing can be found at Amazon. You should at least understand the architecture examples given in the getting started doc. For those who want more: Martin Fowler talks frequently about it: . And for the friends of IBM

  4. We did a thing on Bitcoins two summers ago. Last summer, the block-chain seemed to be the hottest thing in finance and there are lots of ideas on how to use it for other things as well. Unfortunately, there are quite severe scaling problems behind the protocol. An excellent book by Ed Felten allows us a good look at the internals of a working blockchain and its spin-offs (like name-coins etc.). Get it from here. I found the rat race for ever faster mining hardware an interesting case. We could discuss alternatives for the proof process which are not based on burning excessive amounts of energy ("proof of stake"). And the programming language integrated in Ethereum and its impact on smart contracts. Interesting mesh between distributed web and blockchain tech: A Decentralized Content Registry for the Decentralized Web

  5. How do we find information? How the latest important papers? Where do we go for technologies? Which sites do we HAVE to read? Frequently I get asked about my sources of information and I think we should just throw together what we do in a best practice session. You should know at least one portal, one paper site and one conference for your special areas each. Some examples for good sources in distributed computing are or as a portal (read weekly updates). The famous "Morning paper" site by Adrian Colyer and the QCON Conference in London and SF, see a good writeup by Andy Butcher . For the hardware fan:

  6. The De-Centralized Web. Decentralized solutions - no longer viable? A vision or an illusion? We will talk about Brewster Kahle and his vision of a decentralized and free web and internet. What are the things we would need for this? What kind of technology is here to help us? Brewster Kahle's talk . Some technology parts: Named Data Networking Ipfs: - a good video on this page, Namecoin , a facebook alternative? Safebook (the interesting Matroshka design pattern), finally: what internet providers (the telkoms) know about us. And hot from the conference. And for some practical ideas on disrupting the big digital platforms: What happened to Austin, TX, after Uber and Lyft left town: . I guess the main thing here is the problem behind Man-in-the-middle like business models and whether they can be replaced with peer-to-peer approaches. See: Disrupting Uber, Driver-owned apps could end Uber’s exploitative reign over the ride-share market. by Vic Vaiana

  7. Container Technology and Unikernels. One of the hottest trends in computing right now. Here is the talk from Kleindienst/Frey And go and look up some info on Rumpkernel or MirageOS. A must read: will containers replace hypervisors What is happening here? What could be the end of the line for some time? See: The answer is dynamic code generation instead of re-packaging huge modules!

  8. Algorithms are no less disruptive than hardware-based technical revolutions. You should know at least some from the following groups (short descriptions can be found on wikipedia): Probabilistic algorithms/data structures (sketches). They work e.g. by observing bits in hashes. Bloomfilter, hyperloglog, count-min belong there. Another group deals with lock free algorithsms. LMAX is a wonderful example here, but there are many others too. A third group is ultra-fast algorithms running in CPU caches. You should know one and understand the differences between batch/online/one-shot Algorithms. Another group deals with scalability and provides extreme parallel processing capabilities. Map/Reduce is one example. We dealt with security in the blockchain technology already and you should be able to explain how it works and how it can be used. Another topic: algorithm based feeds And finally: distributed consensus, as it was mentioned in the course: DS consensus with Paxos explained. Fascinating: special algorithms for high-frequency trading

  9. Finally, another potentially disruptive development: Smart Home and Internet of Things. The slides are on the google drive. For a security background on the problems Smart Home is facing: ENISA report on smart home security . How to program the IoT: How Lil Todo Syncs Tasks Across Multiple Devices Just Using Dropbox

The million things we did not talk about yet in this course:

  1. Current developments and trends in the Internet itself. Is the Internet still a disruptive force? What are the effects of IPV6 and will it solve the symmetry problems? This topic is tightly related to "distributed web" and "net neutrality".Geoff Huston on Adressing 2016 is an excellent source for internet topics like DNS, adressing, BGP and other core technologies the internet is riding on. Is peer-to-peer the future of the Internet? see: Peer gewinnt, 28.08.2015 – Niels Boeing, Claudia Wessling, Technology Review.

  2. Welcome to the matrix - the internet of things is about to become real - or?.

  3. Scalability, performance and costs of running large scale internet sites: does it make sense to move away from Amazons cloud? What is feedback control and how does Netflix handle it? The slides from Uwe Friedrichsen, How Github concquered everybody (network effects etc.) and of course: microservices: and an exciting distributed search architecture with dist. consensus and anycast DNS:

  4. Marketing in internet times: 30 Billion ads per day!

  5. Love in the Internet Age: the user experience with online dating algorithms and sites.

  6. Cyborgs - from smartphone to wearable to implants: Internet driven enhancements to humanity. Let's develop a vision on google glasses, embedded sensors and actors and a new definition of where your body ends...

  7. Corporate Cultures of Unicorn Companies - How is it tied to continuous delivers, lean enterprise and agile development?

  8. Net Neutrality and attacks on the internet. Well, Trump certainly is no friend of net neutrality. Will old-style telcoms kill the googles and amazons? Irrtümer in Sachen Netzneutralität Netzpolitik «Eine Verfassung für das Internet»

  9. Messaging: the new paradigm. Will Slack etc. change the way we shop?

  10. Crowds and Crowd-Funding -and when does it fail?

  11. Getting rid of information: Snapchat etc.

  12. Microservices - the architecture for scalable Internet Services

  13. Darknets and Anonymity: and the getting started pages of the

  14. Router Attacks/ Anatomy of a DDOS

  15. Internet Resilience: ENISA Study

  16. Thinking Machines: There seems to be a growing concern about humans losing to machines in the end. Anybody playing GO?

  17. Neuroscience and Computer Science: I think, therefore I heal: the weird science of neurofeedback

  18. Inhouse-Navigation, Apple I-Bacon, Android

  19. Eli Pariser, the filter bubble (and perhaps the price bubble..). On "echo chambers" and how the topology of networks can create a false feeling of majority.

  20. The Master Switch - Rise and Fall of Information Empires, Tim Wu

  21. Campact und Co.: Demokratie durchs Internet - ein Erfolgsmodell?

  22. Internet Payment:

  23. Mesh Networks, open WLAN and

  24. Ad-fraud/click fraud detection in mobile apps:

  25. Dave Eggers, the circle: The Circle is the exhilarating new novel from Dave Eggers, best-selling author of A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award.

  26. The Algorithmic Age: The positive and negative sides of modern algorithms. We could start with Code-Dependent: the pros and cons of the Algorithmic age, by Lee Rainie and Janna Anderson and then tackle the famous Cathy O’Neil, author of Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, who pointed out that predictive analytics based on algorithms tend to punish the poor, using algorithmic hiring practices as an example.

    More in that vein: “Why Should I Trust You? Explaining the Predictions of Any Classifier Ribeiro et al., KDD 2016, Explaining Outputs in Modern Data Analytics, Zaheer Chothia, John Liagouris, Frank McSherry, Timothy Roscoe Systems Group, Department of Computer Science, ETH Zürich, How the machine "thinks": Understanding opacity in machine learning algorithms, Big Data & Society January–June 2016: 1–12, Jenna Burrell, European Union regulations on algorithmic decision-making, and a “right to explanation”, Bryce Goodman, 1∗ Seth Flaxman. Now, this could easily form the basics for a very interesting "Digital Rights Day" with my colleague Prof. Veddern. see also: Algorithmic collusion and price-fixing January 9, 2017 Cathy O'Neil,

  27. The brain and its computer. Should we model computations like the human brain? Well, do we even know how the brain works? How the Brain Might Work: Statistics Flowing in Redundant Population Codes, Xaq Pitkow 1,2 and Dora E Angelaki 1,2

  28. Content Delivery Networks. Best Practices For Using A Multi-CDN Strategy: How To Balance, Prioritize and Optimize Traffic, Dan Rayburn

  29. A critique of Machines: All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace 1h | Documentary | TV Mini-Series (2011– ) Episode Guide 3 episodes All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace Poster A series of films about how humans have been colonized by the machines we have built. Although we don't realize it, the way we see everything in the world today is through the eyes of the computers.

  30. Engineering privacy on the internet: Engineering Privacy for Your Users, Session 709 Jessie Pease Privacy Engineering Julien Freudiger Privacy Engineering and: ANONYMIZATION AND RISK Ira S. Rubinstein * & Woodrow Hartzog **

  31. facebook and disaggregated networking: new approaches in networking:

  32. Scalability in the internet age: The Infrastructure Behind Twitter: Scale Thursday, January 19, 2017 | By Mazdak Hashemi (@mazdakh), VP of Infrastructure and Operations Engineering [19:35 UTC]


Here are the dates for our days and special guests.

  1. Security Day at 24.3.2017. Finally, another security day at HdM. We will have talks on detecting vulnerabilities with graph traversals, a look at IT-Security in different branches, a short talk on DDOS and the Mirai botnet and more.

  2. 28.4. Mobile Day (Gerlicher)

  3. 12.5. Accessibility Day (Zimmermann)

  4. Entrepreneur-Day (Heuzeroth/Högsdahl),

  5. Digital Rights Day on algorithms and social laws?

  6. 23.6. Of course a Games Day this term. We invited a company which does an exciting holodeck project in Stuttgart-Vaihingen and speculate about future uses. The talks about VR and AI are relevant for disruptive technology!

  7. 2.6. Another mandatory day will be the Science Day organized by Andreas Stiegler.

Organizational Stuff

Please watch this page closeley for changes in dates or topics. Most speakers work in the industry and sometimes need a change in schedule due to that fact.